Taiwan-based mobile phone maker HTC Corp. filed a patent infringement complaint against Apple on Wednesday seeking a ban on imports of Asian-manufactured iPhones, iPods and iPads into the United States.

HTC, the target of a patent suit by Apple in March alleging infringement of 20 iPhone patents, said it had filed its complaint with the Washington-based US International Trade Commission.

The HTC action alleges that Apple products infringed five HTC patents and seeks to have them barred from being imported into the United States from their manufacturing facilities in Asia.

"We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones," HTC vice president of North America Jason Mackenzie said.

"HTC believes the industry should be driven by healthy competition and innovation that offer consumers the best, most accessible mobile experiences possible," Mackenzie said in a statement.

HTC, which stands for High Tech Computer Corp., is Taiwan's leading smartphone maker.

The company makes handsets for a number of leading US companies and is the manufacturer of the Nexus One unveiled by Apple rival Google in January.

Apple in March accused HTC of infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the "user interface, underlying architecture and hardware" of the iPhone.

Apple, which is based in Cupertino, California, filed the lawsuit in a US District Court in the state of Delaware and with the US International Trade Commission.

In the suit, Apple, which has sold more than 50 million iPhones worldwide, asked for unspecified damages and an injunction to prevent HTC from making or selling products using the patents in dispute.

Patent lawsuits are a regular occurrence among technology giants and Apple is currently being sued by Nokia for patent infringement. Apple has fired back a countersuit against the Finnish mobile phone giant.

Canada's Research in Motion, maker of the Blackberry, has also had its share of patent woes and was accused of patent infringement by US mobile phone maker Motorola in a suit filed in January.

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